Tag Archives: donald trump

MAGA: Many Are Getting Arrested

We live in inter­est­ing times …

Today’s brief will not be about the ever-grow­ing list of fed­er­al indict­ments and crim­i­nal guilty pleas encoun­tered thus far in the Trump-Rus­sia spe­cial coun­sel pro­ceed­ings.

Instead, we find our­selves see­ing guilty ver­dicts and plea deals entered in rela­tion to a slew of seri­ous, tan­gen­tial­ly relat­ed crim­i­nal com­plaints that have come as a byprod­uct of those inves­ti­ga­tions. Think of them, col­lec­tive­ly, as the ulti­mate exam­ple of “fol­low the mon­ey.”

In court today, Don­ald Trump’s for­mer cam­paign chair­man Paul Man­afort was found guilty on eight of the eigh­teen offens­es he had been charged with, the jury hav­ing been dead­locked on the remain­ing ten and a mis­tri­al declared, for which pros­e­cu­tors can poten­tial­ly look at con­duct­ing a retri­al of those lat­ter charges.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Man­afort is due to stand tri­al in Wash­ing­ton, DC on sev­en entire­ly dif­fer­ent crim­i­nal charges next month.

Mean­while, Don­ald Trump’s for­mer per­son­al lawyer Michael Cohen plead­ed guilty to eight crim­i­nal counts of his own in an effort to stave off the threat of a lengthy tri­al and poten­tial­ly far more severe con­se­quences for his wrong­do­ings.

In these pro­ceed­ings, Cohen intends on plead­ing guilty to five counts of tax eva­sion, one count of bank fraud, one count of mak­ing an unlaw­ful cor­po­rate con­tri­bu­tion, and one count of mak­ing an exces­sive cam­paign con­tri­bu­tion.

Cohen fur­ther admit­ted to hav­ing paid out hush mon­ey at Trump’s direc­tion (though not by name), an act that was appar­ent­ly intend­ed to influ­ence the out­come of the elec­tion.

Evi­dence uncov­ered dur­ing the course of the Man­afort and Cohen pro­ceed­ings also sug­gests pros­e­cu­tors might go after oth­er indi­vid­u­als whose names have come up in the course of these cor­rup­tion inves­ti­ga­tions, includ­ing Stephen Calk, the banker who pro­vid­ed the Man­afort loans and who alleged­ly attempt­ed to use his influ­ence in a failed bid to secure a posi­tion with the Army.

Fur­ther updates will be post­ed as these sto­ries con­tin­ue to devel­op.

The Ongoing US Trump/Russia Media Flap

Here’s a fair­ly lev­el-head­ed expla­na­tion of the Trump/Russia cov­er­age that’s par­a­lyzed the news cycle for the past few months, cour­tesy of Michael Tracey from TYT:

It’s impor­tant to note that whether or not the Trump/Russia sto­ry has legs, we’ve long since passed the point where irra­tional nar­ra­tives became ends and pur­suits in them­selves, and peo­ple have large­ly cho­sen to see what they want to see come out of this sit­u­a­tion.

If there’s one thing 2016 taught us, it’s that the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal sys­tem and elec­torate are, large­ly, no longer ratio­nal actors. They’re in a bad place and they want to burn some­thing down because they’re under­stand­ably pissed off at the sta­tus quo. The oth­er side of the coin is most aren’t ter­ri­bly con­cerned with how they go about doing it, or what cor­ners they cut when giv­ing it thought.

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Donald Trump’s First 100 Days

Until now, I haven’t been report­ing on the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in the Unit­ed States because news on the sub­ject has been ubiq­ui­tous, and many tal­ent­ed indi­vid­u­als and media out­lets have been call­ing the sit­u­a­tion for what it is.

Today, this changes. I don’t feel it’s appro­pri­ate for a per­son to stand on the side­lines and wait for oth­ers to do one’s duty in the midst of a mat­ter this impor­tant. I’ve writ­ten on Cana­di­an pol­i­tics on this site in the past, and arguably US pol­i­tics can have just as sig­nif­i­cant an impact on any­one liv­ing north of the bor­der due to wide­spread export of Amer­i­can cul­ture, val­ues, and geopo­lit­i­cal influ­ence.

At the same time, lin­ger­ing con­cerns remain on the polit­i­cal and finan­cial affil­i­a­tions of some media out­lets, the impact of com­pro­mised jour­nal­ism in an infor­ma­tion dri­ven soci­ety, and the pit­falls of the rat­ings-dri­ven sys­tem hold­ing sway on most TV-based media deliv­ery plat­forms which tends to cap­i­tal­ize on dra­ma and suf­fer­ing while often fail­ing to deliv­er con­text and his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive.

While there are many media groups who are doing high qual­i­ty work and pro­vid­ing in-depth jour­nal­ism, the mixed nature of tech­nol­o­gy and its use (or mis­use at times) means it’s wise to ensure infor­ma­tion is reg­u­lar­ly fact-checked and fur­ther research is con­duct­ed to under­stand con­text and estab­lish a broad­er per­spec­tive of cur­rent events.

The unfor­tu­nate thing about pol­i­tics is that despite hav­ing great impor­tance in dai­ly life, it fre­quent­ly tends to be treat­ed as a spec­ta­tor sport. Media com­pa­nies run round-the-clock news cycles and make mon­ey from it, peo­ple talk to fam­i­ly and friends about what’s going on in the world, some offices run pools on what they think the next big change might be, but how many of us are actu­al­ly will­ing to roll up our sleeves and get involved?

When was the last time you talked with a Con­gressper­son, Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, or MLA? Have you ever read leg­isla­tive doc­u­men­ta­tion to learn the issues? When was the last time you fact checked a polit­i­cal state­ment? Ever been part of a pub­lic com­men­tary hear­ing? Heck, when was the last time you vot­ed?

Here’s why polit­i­cal engage­ment mat­ters:

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